Rules of suspension: a rules-based explanation of strategy workshops in strategy process

D.N. Seidl, D. MacLean, R. MacIntosh

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    This paper develops a rules-based view of the role of strategy workshops in developing and changing firm strategy. It is based on prior studies which elaborated a rules-based perspective on strategy process and on more recent work focused on strategy workshops as an important strategic practice. We use an in-depth study of strategy workshops to develop a typology of three different rule sets: (1) generative rules which bring forth organizational activities, (2) defensive rules which inhibit changes to the generative rules and (3) rules of suspension, i.e. rules for suspending defensive rules. We argue that within strategy workshops it is possible to use rules of suspension as a temporary means of disrupting defensive rules which, in turn, facilitates changes to existing generative rules. The paper makes three contributions to the literature. First, we contribute to the rules-based perspective on strategy process by building a theoretical framework to explain interactions between rule sets during strategy development. Second, we contribute to the literature on strategy-as-practice which is interested in the effects of different strategic practices such as strategy workshops. Third, our micro-level observations add new insight to on-going discussions about the relationship between organizational stability and strategic change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management 2011
    Subtitle of host publicationAugust 12-16, 2011, San Antonio, Texas, USA
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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